HMS Defender has completed NATO security operations in the Mediterranean and entered the Black Sea after a short visit to Istanbul. Dutch Navy frigate HNLMS Evertsen has been accompanying the British destroyer.
One day after, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58) entered the Black Sea on a routine patrol on June 11.
Over the past few weeks Portsmouth-based Defender completed intensive training and worked on Operation Sea Guardian, NATO’s mission in the Mediterranean to deter and counter terrorism.
Commanding Officer, Commander Vincent Owen said: “After over 12 months of preparations with the added challenges of COVID-19, it is fantastic to have sailed and started deployment as part of the UK Carrier Strike Group.
“These first weeks as we have worked with NATO on Operation Sea Guardian in the Mediterranean has shown what a superb asset the Type 45 destroyer is and in particular the ability of the highly-trained men and women we have on board to be able to achieve a range of tasks at short notice.
“We are all very proud to be part of this milestone deployment showcasing Global Britain and the UK Carrier Strike capability, we are ready for whatever tasking we are called to deliver.”
Defender’s deployment so far has been mainly focused on her work in the Carrier Strike Group, in which she forms part of the ‘ring of steel’ – including frigates, submarines, Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships and aircraft – around carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth on her maiden operational deployment.
While in the Black Sea, Laboon will conduct maritime security operations alongside NATO Allies and partners in the region with a focus on enhancing maritime stability, combined readiness, and naval capability. This is the fifth U.S. Navy ship to visit the Black Sea in 2021. In addition to U.S. Navy ship visits, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Hamilton (WMSL 753) departed the Black Sea May 14 following operations with Black Sea partner navies and coast guards in support of maritime security and law.
Naval Post Comment: The timing of the deployment is meaningful because the ships entered the Black Sea just a few days before the NATO Summit 2021 being held in Brussels. This year’s summit is quite important because NATO’s Strategic Concept for 2030 is expected to be approved. The concept is expected to contain some measures and course of action in the following years. This deployment could be considered as a show of deterrence and alliance in the meantime. The force composition consists of a frigate from an EU country (The Netherlands), a destroyer from the UK and a destroyer from the US. This composition is a clue of the strong relationship between the allies.
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